JPMorgan Chase is eliminating voice mail for consumer-bank employees as part of a push by the biggest U.S. lender to trim $2 billion in annual expenses.
“We realized that hardly anyone uses voice mail anymore because we’re all carrying something in our pockets that’s going to get texts or e-mail or a phone call,” Gordon Smith, head of JPMorgan’s consumer and community bank, said Tuesday at a conference in New York. “So we started to cut those off.”
The lender, with 135,908 workers in its retail division, is reviewing ways to save money by cutting staff at branches and nudging customers to automated channels. Voice mail services cost $10 a month per line, Gordon said. Employees such as branch managers who deal directly with clients will keep the service, said Trish Wexler, a spokeswoman for the New York-based company.
Firms including Coca-Cola Co. have cut voice mail, which requires users to scroll through messages and listen to them one at a time, because smartphones are ubiquitous and texting is now a routine form of communication.
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In 1991, Ed Crutchfield, CEO of Charlotte-based First Union, gained national attention for ordering employees to stop using answering machines because he wanted real people answering phones at the bank, which is now part of Wells Fargo.
“The next time I call and get an answering machine, we’re going to be minus one telephone answering machine and one answering machine operator,” Crutchfield wrote in a company memo. Staff writer Rick Rothacker contributed.